Your First Miniature


Steel Kitty FTW!

I don’t know why I bought that Panther.  Maybe it was because none of my friends owned a Panther miniature.  No matter how badly I painted it, they’d still have to use it when we played.  Or maybe I just wanted my first paint job to be a smaller miniature, so it would be less imposing.  For whatever reason, I purchased that Ral Partha miniature, and then proceeded home to paint my first…well…anything really.

I had been playing BattleTech for about three months by that point. Ninth grade was almost over.  Everyone else in my playgroup had a bunch of miniatures they had picked up and painted.  It was time I do the same!  So I bought that Panther and set out to make the best looking Panther I could.

But I’ve never been an artist.  Usually I don’t enjoy crafts such as painting.  I grabbed my mother’s set of craft paint and began a project that took all night.  For five minutes I stared at the metal frame.  What did I want this thing to look like?  After consideration, I gave it a boring brown body, but I didn’t like that very much.  I used Steel for the PPC and Crimson for its eyes.  A touch here and there.  Before too long, it had become the Panther of 14 Colors.  I had even found a place for Lilac.  I sighed.  I had inadvertently painted the Rainbow Kitty.

For a few weeks, I brought it to game time.  No one used it.  Discouraged, I picked up a Stinger and Wasp and painted them dark grey, with just black and silver sections. I made them simple on purpose.  They weren’t elegant, but they did the job well enough.  And people played with them!

Eventually, I decided to reboot the Panther.  I took a bath with it, and washed it off.  This would be a new chance!  Forest Green was the body, and then some lighter greens, black, brown, and steel.  It was Forest Camo Kitty.  And yet, it still didn’t look right.  I think it was used once or twice in the next year.

One more time! I stripped off the camo design and painted the Panther medium gray.  It took about ten minutes before I realized that was a bad choice too, but I had already begun.  It was yet another sad attempt to make the Panther sleek and powerful – like its namesake.

Unfortunately, a few years ago, I lost my Panther and a few other miniatures.  I no longer own my first miniature experience.  Today, after painting about 250 miniatures in fantasy and BattleTech,  I can honestly say that on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 1 being my first Panther and a 10 being the amazing work I see online, I’m about at a 3.  It’s not my thing. But that’s alright.  It suffices.

The Panther stays with me always though.  You always remember that first miniature.

What was your first miniature?  How did it turn out?  Do you have any pictures?

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About Abe Sargent

When his first attack roll with an LRM15 from that Crusader destroyed a Ryoken deep in the jungle, Abe grew hooked on the game that brought heavy metal to a smart sci-fi universe that realistically portrays humanity in the future with all of the foibles of today.

3 thoughts on “Your First Miniature

  1. Brian

    My first mini was a Hunchback. Painting was never my forte but I had a friend paint it Gold with black trim. It looked great. I too no longer have that first mini, I gave away my original box set (with all the unseen minis!) years ago when I thought I would never play again. When I reconnected to the hobby I was able to track down a third edition box set with plastic minis, and have since bought several hunchbacks, but never got one as cool as the first.

  2. Timbal

    I think my first miniature was an Awesome. I still have it, and I think I’ve only gone through three attempted paint jobs on it. Currently I still have it, and even though I consider myself an advanced beginner, I’m proud to still own that one. :)

  3. Doc Sav

    I bought 3 minis the first time I found a local game store that carried them. I had a Battletech Starter box with the paper cut out mechs, and I had played some with my brother and friends, although none of them really enjoyed the pacing of the game and really I basically just enjoyed the lore and TROs on my own. I basically bought them to have some desktop models / toys to mess around with.

    I bought a Raven, Catapult, Charger (I think I was confusing it with a Banshee), and an O-Bakemono. I bought a few basic colors of model paint, of whichever brand was cheapest. I recall painting the Raven first, a simple full coat of a yellowish / desert tan color, based on my fondness for the Raven in the intro cutscene of Mechcommander. I remember realizing that even a small brush was pretty much too big for such tiny scale, and used a toothpick to apply black to the missile launchers, cockpit, and a few details. The Charger came next, getting a midnight blue base with generous yellow trim, just because I liked the colors. I even managed some hazard stripe details on the back. Finally, I did the Catapult up in Wolf’s Dragoon black with red trim. I never did get around to painting the o-bakemono, as I couldn’t figure out a good way to scheme the curved body. I still have all 4 minis I am glad to say. I am hoping to get my RPG group to play a Battletech campaign that I GM. So far, they seem receptive as it will be a nice break from our usual fantasy adventures.


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